MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released the following statement from Michael Edison Hayden, senior investigative reporter and spokesperson, Intelligence Project, after Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, restored Donald Trump’s account after issuing an online poll. Trump was permanently suspended from the platform on Jan. 8, 2021, “due to risk of further incitement of violence” following the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“Just shy of two years after former president Donald Trump manipulated Twitter to rile up the mob that violently attacked the U.S. Capitol, Elon Musk has chosen to reinstate his account based on a performative internet poll. While the event was predictable, given Musk’s appetite for buoying extremists and disinformation peddlers on Twitter, this action should alarm any person who opposes hate and cares about the future of our democracy.”
“At SPLC, we are concerned as it relates to our ongoing monitoring of the proliferation of hate and extremism online, especially as it impacts youth and other targeted communities.”
“From the moment Trump emerged as a political figure, he has exploited Twitter to spread lies, conspiracy theories and hate. Rest assured that Trump and other hard-right extremists will do that again to divide our country in their attempt to secure power for their white supremacist agenda. We encourage allies to speak up against the proliferation of hate on social media.”
Last week, SPLC’s Hatewatch released a report analyzing how Twitter’s Blue service is credentialing white nationalists, anti-LGBTQ extremists and other far-right individuals and groups. Additional reporting by Hatewatch details Twitter’s long-standing relationship with the far right.